What Is It Short For?

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Do you have a nickname in mind but want something more formal?  Or maybe you’ve met someone who goes by a nickname but refuses to divulge the formal, and you’re increasingly frustrated because each of your guesses is met with a resounding “No!”  If it’s short for anything, here are some options. 

To find these nickname reversals, I’ve combed through the Social Security Administration’s extended baby name data for 2015.  That said, not all the names here are even used anymore.  The names that didn’t appear in 2015’s set are italicized (i.e. Annunziata or Beecher), and can be legitimately called “unique” baby names since they’re too rare to chart.  I color-code girls’ names with magenta, boys’ names in blue, and unisex in purple

Nickname -> Formal Names

Ace -> Achilles, Acheron, Acacius, Aceton

Annie -> Anne, Anthea, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthe, Anastasia, Annabel / Annabelle, Annabella, Athanasia, Anais, Anise, Agnes, Hannah, Anna, Moana, Annika, Anniston / Aniston, Annaliese, Annalee, Andromeda, Angelina / Angeline, Annunziata, Antigone, Tiffannie, MarianaLiliana, Luciana, Liviana, Luanne, Louisiana, Emiliana, Ameliana, Britannia

Beau / Bo / Bow -> Beautiful, Isabeau, Bonita, Rainbow, Deborah, Beauregard, Beauden, Beaumont, Beaufort, Bowen, Bowie, Bodhi, Boaz, Bowman, Bocephus, Cabot (depending on whether you pronounce the ‘t’).

Bee -> Elizabeth, Beatrice, Beatrix, Beatriz, Beata, Bedelia, Beecher

Bella -> Isabella, Arabella, Mirabella…for more, read Many Bellas!

Ben -> Benjamin, Bennett, Bentley, Benson, Benton, Benedict / Benedikt, Benicio, Benaiah, KorbenBenito, Benoni, Benzion* / Bentzion*, Ebenezer / Eben, Reuben / Ruben / Rubens, Benuel, Torben, Benno, Robben, Benoit, Bendrick, Benelli

Bert / Bertie -> Robert, Albert, Gilbert, Herbert, Bertram, Egbert, Aldebert, Wilbert, Adalberto, Norbert, Lambert, Dagoberto, Philbert, Dagobert, Theudebert, Engelbert, Adalbert, Ethelbert / Athelbert, Liberty, Roberta, Alberta, Bertha, Albertina, Bertrada

Cam -> Camila / Camilla, Camille, Camryn / Cameron, Cambria, Campbell, Camden / Camdyn, Cambree / Cambrie, Camellia, Camari, Camiyah, Camber, Camry, Camara, Cameo, Camilo, Camarion, Cambridge

Chris -> Christopher, Christian / Cristian, Cristiano / Christiano, Cristobal / Christobal, Chrishawn, Crispin, Chrysippus, Christina, Christine, Christiana, Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthe, Chryseis, Christobel / Christabelle, Chrisley, Christabella, Chrisiyah, Christmas, Crystal

Ella -> Elizabeth / Elisabeth, Eleanor, Eliana, Ellison, Ellis, Gabriella, Daniella, Ariella, Antonella, Fiorella, Novella, Ellery, Ornella, Elodie, Elodia, Eloise, Eloisa, Elowen / Ellawyn, Ellasandra

Hal -> Henry, Harrison, Harry, Harold, Halen, Halston, Hallie / Halley, Harriet, Henrietta, Hallelujah, Halcyon, Halsey, Halibut (okay, maybe not that last one)

JennyJennifer, Jane, Genevieve / Jennavieve, Jenna, Jenesis / Genesis, Jenessa, Gentry / Jentry, Jennings, Geneva / Jeneva, Jeniyah, Genavie / Jenavee, Jennavecia, Jennabelle

Leo -> Leonardo, Leonel, Leonidas, Leonard, Leopold, Galileo, Napoleon, Leomar, Leovanni, Leoncio.  There are also some girls’ names that include “Leo” (Leona, Leontine) but it’s up to you whether you’d call her “Leo” or something more conventionally feminine.

Lou -> Lucy, Luna, Lucille, Luciana, Luz, Louisa / Luisa, Lucinda, Luella / Louella, Lucero, Lourdes, Lula, Lupita, Lucina, Lucienne, Lucilla, Lumina, Luthien, Ludovica, Lucrezia, Lucretia, Emmylou, Lilou, Louisiana, Bettylou, Guadalupe, Louis, Loukas, Caillou, Willoughby, Lucius, Luther, Luigi, Alucard, Lucifer, Ludovic

Maddie -> Madison, Madelyn / Madeline / Madeleine, Madigan, Madonna, Madrid, Maddox, Madden

Mae / May -> Margaret, Mary, Marilyn, Maybelline, Mabel / Maebell, Maybree, Maya, Amaya, Maylee, Mayra, Samaya, Macy, Mayla, Maylani, Maisie

Mel -> Amelia, Melanie, Melody, Melissa, Melina, Amelie, Emmeline, Melinda, Pamela, Camellia, Melania, Carmela, Melia, Melaina, Imelda, Melrose, Hermelinda, Mella, Pommeline / Pomeline, Melpomene, Melisande, Melvin, Carmelo, Jamel, Elimelech, Melchizedek, Melchior

Mo -> Maurice / Morris, Mohammad, Mortimer, Moses / Moshe, Morrison, Mosiah, Mostafa, Modesto, Mowgli, Monroe, Montgomery, Mona, Monique, Monet, Moana, Modesty, Momoka

Nora -> Eleanora / Eleonora, Lenora, Anora, Sonora, Leonora, Honora, Evanora

Ollie -> Olivia, Olive, Olympia, Olinda, Oliver, Olaf, Ollivander

Pip -> Piper, Pippa, Philippa, Epiphany, Epiphania, Peregrine, Pippin, Pippilotta (as in Pippilotta “Pippi” Longstocking), Philip

Rosie -> Rose, Rosalie, Rosalind, Rosaline, Rosalyn / Roselynn, Rosabella, Rosemary, Rosemarie, Primrose, Rosamond, Rosamund, Rosario, Milagros, Ambrosia, Melrose, Rosalba, Rosary, Roselani

Sacha / Sasha -> Alexander, Issachar, Alexandra

Do you have any favorites from this list?  Are there any nicknames you’re looking to lengthen for a baby or character, or out of sheer curiosity?  Let me know in the comments!

*Benzion and Bentzion are probably meant to be Ben-Zion and Ben-Tzion.  The SSA still doesn’t recognize hyphens.


While I don’t think Winchester will grace the top 1000 any time soon, it’s hard not to see the potential this ancient place name carries as a baby name.  According to SSA data, this debuted in 2014 as the first name of just 5 baby boys; 9 boys were named Winchester in 2015.  Expect to see even more in the 2016 set!


Winchester, Virginia

Winchester fits within several ongoing American trends.  As I’ve mentioned, Winchester is a place name.  Several cities and many more municipalities bear the name.  Personally, I consider these two locations the most important – Winchester (U.K.), an ancient city that boasts one of the largest cathedrals in Europe; and Winchester, Virginia (U.S.A.), which was an important spot in the Civil War and the hometown of musician Patsy Cline.  Geography always seems to inspire baby names, though the favorites change.  Some of the big cities like London and Paris are starting to seem like they’ve already hit their peaks as baby names, though other city-names like Memphis, Cairo, and Adelaide are still climbing the charts.

The appearance of Winchester in the SSA data probably has nothing to do with the cities that share its name, but with Winchester-branded rifles and shotguns.  Guns are “in” as baby names.  Remington is trendy for both genders, ranking #299 for boys and #621 for girls.  Wesson, like Winchester, debuted with only 5 boys – that was in 2004.  Now, over a decade later, Wesson is poised to make a top 1000 debut.  If the future is this bright for gun names, Winchester probably won’t be in single-digit usage much longer.

“Win” names themselves are apparently trendy.  Winston is making a comeback (though he never really left).  In the 1990s, Winslow was given to fewer than ten boys each year; now, it’s unisex!  Royal Windsor is also unisex, though increasingly female.  Even Winifred made huge gains in 2014 and 2015!   Will Winchester ride on the coattails of these other “winners” to establish himself?

Finally, Winchester has decent nickname potential.  You can call him Chester or Chet.  If Winchester eventually emulates other “win” names and goes unisex, you may encounter the nicknames Winnie and Winter too!

What do you think of the name Winchester?  Do you think Winchester has the ammunition to succeed like Remington and Wesson, or maybe via the impending success of other “winners” like Winston and Winifred?   Or, do you think Winchester will remain rare?


Zuzu is the latest rare name to catch my attention!  Twenty baby girls were given this adorable name in 2015, according to SSA extended data.  Zuzu is all kinds of fantastic – like Lulu with zest!  It can be short for Susan, Susanna, or any number of ‘Z’ names including Zuleika and Zuri.  I cannot wait to see if this name takes off.

Most of us have seen the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, which turns seventy this year.  For those who haven’t watched it yet, the premise is that an angel shows despondent George Bailey scenes from his life – that is, George’s life had George never existed.  Evidently, I haven’t seen it in ten years or more, because I had no recollection that George’s daughter was actually called Zuzu, short for Susan!  Zuzu famously quotes: “Look Daddy.  Teacher says, every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.”  From what I can find, her nickname was supposedly a reference to Zu Zu Ginger Snaps, which were popular in the early 20th century.  For more information on the cookies, they have their own blog – worth a read!  P.S. – Watch the movie.  They always show it at the holidays, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long.

I’ve also noticed that Zuzu is a character name in at least two children’s television shows from the last decade.  In the British show Peppa Pig, Zuzu is a zebra with a twin sister named Zaza and an older sister named Zoe.  The other show with a Zuzu is the Australian Zuzu and the Supernuffs.  Their influence on the name is probably negligible, though – Zuzu first appeared as a baby name here before either program hit the waves.  Peppa Pig has only been around since 2004, and Supernuffs was released in 2013.  At least in the U.S., the first babies distinctly named Zuzu (and not Susan or another formal name) I’m aware of were born in 1999.

What do you think of Zuzu?  Would you use it as a nickname or treat her as a standalone? 

Uncommonly Tiny Names

Do you love the brevity of Max and Ada, but think they’re too popular?  Here’s a list of rare, tiny names comprising only two or three letters!    

Aj – 71 boys, 7 girls in the U.S. in 2015.  (Numbers come from Social Security Administration)

Aja – 84 girls.

Ale – 5 girls.  In case you really like your beer…

Aoi – 8 girls.  This is a Japanese name. 

Axe – 8 boys.  Hopefully the kind Gimli offers to Frodo and not the body spray.  Either way, it’s a weapon!

Bay – 58 girls, 11 boys.  Include this with other spice names like Cayenne and Paprika; Old Bay is delicious.

Bea – 25 girls.

Blu – 14 boys, 9 girls.  When Blue isn’t blunt or artsy enough. 

Bly – 5 girls.  Nellie Bly was a famous investigative journalist.

Bob – 14 boys.  Nowadays this is more of a meme than a name because of how generic it is.  That, and Bob the Builder.

Bow – 17 boys. 

Cub – 7 boys. 

Cy – 60 boys.  A nickname for Cyrus that personally sounds more like the Greek letter “psi.” 

Dat – 9 boys.  Dat name tho. 

Dev – 105 boys.  It seems that “Game Dev” gives us the latest professional name, joining Taylor and Sailor.   

Dov – 107 boys.  Hebrew name meaning “bear.”

Dua – 33 girls.

Emi – 166 girls.  Standalone Japanese name, but could also be a nickname for Emily.

Ewa – 9 girls.

Fox – 193 boys, 6 girls.  Makes me think of Joe Fox and his bookstore from You’ve Got Mail

Gal – 6 girls.  If Guy has a twin sister, I think we’ve found her.  Though, I bet you could make Gal short for Galadriel

Gem – 8 girls.  A literal gem name, or maybe a nickname for Gemma

Gus – 163 boys. 

Guy – 153 boys.

Fia – 25 girls.

Han – 22 boys, 19 girls.  Considering how blatantly Star Wars this name is, it’s really surprising that so many girls have the name.

Ida – 159 girls.  Once in the top 10, Ida hasn’t even been in the top 1000 since the 1980s.  Here’s hoping for a revival! 

Ibn 16 boys.  Arabic word meaning “son,” precedes a man’s father’s name.  Equivalent of Latin “filius,”  Hebrew “ben,” or Welsh “ap.”  I wonder whether any parents of Ibn’s actually intended it as a first name.

Ike – 93 boys.  “I like Ike” is a famous presidential campaign slogan. 

Io – 6 boys, 5 girls.  According to mythology, Io was transformed into a cow because Zeus took her as a lover.  Naturally, the quintessential problem in all Greek myth is Zeus’ romantic escapades.

Ion – 11 boys.  Ion is a good choice if you like particles or Plato. 

Ira – 196 boys, 97 girls.  Biblical name!

Ivo – 15 boys.  I play enough Crusader Kings II to be reminded of an obscure 11th-century Norman named Ivo de Taillebois.  Needless to say, Ivo is an old name.  Depending on the origin, it’s related to either Yves or Ivan.

Jad – 168 boys. 

Jo – 27 girls.  Jo March is a character in Alcott’s Little Women.

Job – 87 boys.  Something we all need.  As a name, this probably references the Bible character, and is pronounced more like the name Joe with a ‘b’ at the end. 

Jr – 29 boys.  Jr, Jr.  Uh oh…unexpected Jar Jar Binks! 

Kal – 55 boys.  Not like Cal or Calvin…more like actor Kal Penn.

Kc – 27 boys, 15 girls.  Usually this stands for something.  I don’t know what KC is these days, but when I was in high school and college the ‘c’ almost always stood for Casey, regardless of gender.

Kia – 15.  Car names! 

Kim – 71 girls, 11 boys. 

Kip – 46 boys. 

Koi – 22 boys, 18 girls.  I never thought of fish as a namesake, unless you count Marlin and Nemo.

Lex – 67 boys.  Although Lex is traditionally short for Alexander, most people probably think of Lex Luthor.

Lux – 99 girls, 32 boys.  Latin word for “light.”

Md – 27 boys.  I initially thought about doctors when I saw this, but now I wonder if this is shorthand for Mohammad.  Traditionally, common men’s names had truncated written versions; i.e., William was sometimes Wm, Jonathan was Jno, etc. 

Neo – 80 boys. 

Nil – 10 girls, 5 boys.  A tad nihilistic, don’t you think?

Nox – 15 boys.  Latin word meaning “night” – therefore equivalent of NyxNox is also a spell in Harry Potter, which is used to end a Lumos charm…that is, to put out the light. 

Nyx – 16 girls.  Nyx is the Ancient Greek personification (goddess) of Night.  Perfect for Halloween? 

Om – 86 boys. 

Oz – 24 boys. 

Paw – 17 girls.  Genuinely interesting…wonder where this comes from?

Pax – 63 boys, 6 girls.  Latin for “peace.” 

Pia – 73 girls.

Poe – 9 boys.  Not too long ago I would have assumed Edgar Allan Poe was the namesake, but now Poe Dameron is a possibility! 

Ra – 9 boys.  Egyptian sun god. 

Rae – 94 girls. 

Ram – 30 boys.  As in the animal or RAM space? 

Ren – 71 boys, 12 girls. 

Rye – 39 boys, 8 girls.  Could be a nickname for Ryan that’s influenced by Kai, but it undeniably reminds me of delicious rye bread.  Hmm…scratch off “Reuben Rye” and “Rye Reuben” from the list of usable name combos. 

Sir – 54 boys.  “Yes, sir.” 

Su – 15 girls.

Tam – 10 boys, 9 girls.

Tom – 67 boys.  “It was…Tom Bombadil!”

Uri – 29 boys. 

Vir – 22 boys.  Vir is the Latin word for “man.”

Von – 45 boys.  I’m just imagining a trip to a German-speaking country and having to explain that Von isn’t the first part of a surname. 

Vy – 27 girls.  Short for Viola or Violet?

Win – 5 boys.  Could be used as a nickname for Winston or Winslow.

Xoe – 26 girls.

Zia128 girls.  Italian word for “aunt,” but as a name might be a variation of Sia or Xia.

Zo – 14 girls.  Basically, Zoe without the invisible umlaut.     

What do you think of these names?  Let me know in the comments!


An acquaintance recently named their son ThanosThanos is traditionally short for Greek Athanasios, which means ‘immortal’ or ‘without death.’  On the other hand, you can probably make it a nickname for Thanatos, which does mean ‘death’ and was the Ancient Greek personification/minor god thereofUltimately, all of these names are rare.  Recent appearances of Thanos in the extended data don’t necessarily correspond to religion or heritage. 


Waterhouse’s depiction of Thanatos and Hypnos, called “Sleep and his Half-brother Death.”

This name benefits from the Marvel treatment.  Thanos is basically an evil space alien who looks a bit like Azog from The Hobbit – if Azog were built like a football player, that is.  Thanos has a cameo in the Avengers (2012) and then shines in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.  With the Marvel Cinematic Universe as popular as it is right now, that’s a lot of exposure for a rare name. 

According to data from the Social Security Administration, Thanos was the first name of 12 baby boys last year, up from 5 in 2014.  I find it interesting that Athanasius also peaked in 2015 at 16 uses, up from 5 the previous year too.  Original Greek Athanasios was down from a few years earlier at 18 uses.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the concurrent rises of Thanos and Athanasius are merely coincidental; one now strongly associates with a fandom and the other has deeply religious connotations.  Catholics designate St. Athanasius of Alexandria as a “Doctor of the Church.”  This begs the question: did anything significant happen last year with him?  It isn’t impossible that Athanasius became more popular to conceal the Marvel connection, and it isn’t impossible that Thanos became more popular just because Athanasius was trending; but I don’t buy either theory by its lonesome.  Neither explains why Athanasios is trending downwards. 

What do you think of ThanosAthanasius?  Do you think either will pick up more steam?

Personal musings: I don’t think my acquaintance is Greek or particularly religious, but the baby seemed to have a middle name from another fandom.  Sure, the Marvel character’s a villain, but my inner nerd loves this.  Congrats on becoming a parent, and kudos for the epic appellation!  

Links for name data:


Wise William

William is one of the most popular names around!  In America, it ranks #5 nationally, but ranks #1 in D.C., Utah, Montana, and every Southern state except Florida.  Interestingly Liam, an Irish nickname for William, ranks even higher on the national level.  Liam comes in at #2, and ranks #1 in more states than the overall #1, Noah (which is probably only first because of California and Texas).  William also ranks highly in other English-speaking countries, and is currently the most popular boys’ name in all of Scandinavia.  That tidbit is especially curious when you consider that Scandinavian languages share their own form of the name (Vilhelm), yet speakers apparently prefer the English cognate! 


William the Conqueror at center

Besides near-universal popularity, the name William also boasts longevity.  The Normans brought it from France to England in 1066, when William the Conqueror invaded and became king.  However, the name predates even that date.  One earlier William that comes to mind is William of Septimania, born in 826 AD.  He’s not particularly important on his own, but his mother Dhuoda addressed a book to him (incidentally, she’s the only female writer of the Carolingian era whose work survives!).  Nor was he the first William in his family.  Ultimately, this name has existed for at least 1200 years!

Those 1200 years of Williams are continuous and plentiful.  The name belongs to four U.S. Presidents, four (eventually five) English kings and more PMs, Shakespeare, saints, writers, actors, athletes, etc.  You will encounter Williams in every profession.  In America at least, William is popular in every age group too; it’s never been outside the top 20. 


Why use a name that’s popular in every age group?  William certainly is ubiquitous and wizened.  But, parents, let me say this: William is timeless; tried-and-true.  He never sounds too old-fashioned or too new.  The only thing that really changes with age is the freshness of the nicknames that accompany William.  Few children will answer to Bill or Willie, I think.  The young Williams I know are mostly called William or LiamMaybe Will or Billy

What do you think of the name William





Depiction of St. Perpetua’s Martyrdom

Some names are so beautiful that their rareness escapes all logic.  Perpetua, I perceive, falls in this category.  This name derives from Latin and means “continual” or “everlasting.”  Pronunciation-wise, the last two syllables ‘tua’ can be said like “chew-uh” or “tyoo-uh.”  Possible nicknames for Perpetua include Perri, Pet, Petra, and Petal

In 2015, only 13 baby girls were named Perpetua in the U.S.  That’s still comparatively high when you realize that it’s only appeared in the SSA birth data in the past 10 years.  Peak usage was in 2013 with 17 girls.

Perhaps strangely, Perpetua doesn’t even appear in the latest England/Wales data.  Why do I say ‘strangely?’  Well, I was under the impression that Perpetua was something of a British-ism.  Off the top of my head, I immediately think of the Bridget Jones character Perpetua (who admittedly was snobbish, though she’s somewhat redeemed by her approval of Bridget’s telling off Daniel) and the Harry Potter Chocolate Frog Card figure Perpetua Fancourt…both obviously British, or at least not American.   

That aside, I do believe most modern usage is religious in nature.  Perpetua semi-frequently appears on Sancta Nomina, which is a Catholic baby naming site (do check that out, even if you’re not Catholic.  Lovely naming styles!).  Indeed, Perpetua is the name of a famous early saint who was martyred at Carthage in the early 200s, during the reign of Roman Emperor Septimius Severus.  St. Perpetua is also believed to be one of the earliest female Christian writers; she wrote a prison diary, which you can read here.

What do you think of the name Perpetua


The Hunger Names


Sorry it’s a little lopsided…

I finally read the Hunger Games!  Never seen the movie, so besides what I’ve gleaned from the media and friends, I had a chance to look at the series with fresh eyes.  I wasn’t really interested in it before (though Hunger Games Minecraft servers were always fun!), but happened upon a free copy and decided to read it for the names.  All in all, the book was enjoyable, though I would have liked more background info about Panem…maybe that will happen in later books.  I’m glad I didn’t read it when it was first popular because frankly, I absolutely hated The Giver as a teenager.  Appreciation of the dystopian genre didn’t manifest until a couple years ago, when I finally read Orwell.  Now I love the stuff!  Hmm…maybe I should afford The Giver another chance.

Anyway, it’s not my intention to write a book review.  Instead, how about a commentary on the names? 

Plant Names:

Katniss “Catnip” – According to the character Katniss, the katniss is a type of flower with an edible root.  Indeed, it’s a real plant, also called Sagittaria or (fittingly) Arrowhead.   Last year, 30 girls were named Katniss in the U.S.




Primrose “Prim”- A sweet floral name for a sweet disposition.  50 American girls were named Primrose last year, but it’s more distinctly British.  According the newly-released English and Welsh data, she ranks #259 there.

Buttercup – OK, I know this was the cat’s name, but…”as you wish?”

Rue: “Small yellow flower” (p. 99). 

Clove – You probably won’t find this as anyone’s name, though I wonder if anyone’s tried it as a nickname for Clover


Effie – Another adorable, mostly British name.  53 girls were named Effie in the U.S. last year, and she ranks #343 in the U.K.  In case you’re wondering, this is traditionally short for Euphemia.

Madge – Traditionally a nickname for Margaret, but could also work as a nickname for Talmadge.  Adorable, but I’m unsure if this will ever catch on again.  The last time this was in the top 1000 was in the 1950s.

Ancient Roman/Latin Names: (Wow, there are a lot of these!)

Venia – Possible nickname for Venetia

Flavius – Would love to see Flavius gain traction! 

Octavia – 173 girls.  Rare and beautiful. 

Cinna – I thought maybe this was a nickname for Cinnamon, but it looks like it may date to Rome (and Shakespeare). 

Portia – 42 girls.  Add stylist to the list of associations besides Porsche and Portia di Rossi!

Caesar – 91 boys.  I bet we could turn Peeta into croutons for the salad. 

Titus – The only men’s name on this list that’s popular in the U.S.  Rank: #281. 

Claudius – Surprisingly none of these in the data. 

Cato – 23 boys.  I wonder how many of these are named after the Cato Institute? 


Gale (m) – Huh.  I was seriously expecting to find this as a women’s name in the 2015 data, but the only known Gales are indeed male.  Must be the series’ influence…anyway, 8 boys were named Gale last year. 

Haymitch – Sounds like a lot like Hamish. 

Peeta – Can I get some hummus with that? 

Johanna – Current rank: #541

Delly Sandwich shop!  Or nickname for Cordelia

Atala – Atari?

Thresh – Funny, he’s from the agriculture district and threshing is an agricultural practice. 

Glimmer – “Ugh, the names people in District 1 give their children are so ridiculous.”  (-Katniss, page 182).  I’m not one to call names ridiculous, but you have to admit the quote is hilarious!

Rooba – Reminds me of Roombas

Greasy Sae – I wouldn’t ever want to be called Greasy, though Sae can make a cute nickname for Sarah or Sadie 8 girls were named Sae in the U.S. last year.

And, that’s a wrap of my Hunger Names commentary (at least, until I read the next two books!).  Encountering all those Roman names is absolutely fantastic, and I always love flower names. 

Thoughts, anyone? 

The Name Hadrian


Hadrian is a strong, rare, and ancient alternative to Adrian.  The feminine form is HadrianaMost commonly associated with Hadrian’s Wall, Hadrian was the name of an early 2nd-century Roman emperor.  29 boys were given this name in 2015, down from 40 in 2014 and 34 in 2013.  Still, it’s more popular than it was 15 years ago, and it fits within with all the other Greek and Roman names that are currently trending!

Possible nicknames include Harry, Hades, and Ryan.  In some types of Harry Potter fanfiction, writers will often make Harry short for Hadrian, more so than they will for Henry or Harrison.  The ones I’ve read from this particular sub-genre usually depict Hadrian “Harry” Potter as a extremely powerful boy-wizard who breaks free from Dumbledore and Dursley control and realizes his inheritance.  There are yet plots, but that’s at least the motif I remember…I haven’t read fan-fiction for quite a while, unless you count communal Skype readings of the dreaded “My Immortal.”  If you don’t believe me about Hadrian and Harry Potter, google it – the search term “harry potter fanfiction hadrian” yields almost 27,000 results.

Of course, the Roman emperor remains the common association.  That does not mean it’s all marble statues and ruins (even though I myself studied Classics in college and ruins are my personal Disney World).  If hilarity and absurdity are your pursuits, I recommend watching a Japanese movie called Thermae Romae.  It regards a Roman bath architect named Lucius who time-travels to modern Japan and finds inspiration for Roman bath designs in Japanese bath culture.  Meanwhile, Hadrian is the current emperor and he hires Lucius to build him spectacular baths.  If this isn’t weird or awesome enough for you, guess what: there’s a sequel!  But yes, that’s another association with the name.

What do you think of the name Hadrian

Update Aug. 11 2017 – 33 boys named Hadrian in 2016.

Tea-Inspired Baby Names


A fresh, tasty cup of Earl Grey which will probably be gone by the time I post this.

Tea.  A wonderfully complex drink with a million flavors and ingredients that we Americans mostly forgo in favor of coffee.  Me, I love both beverages.  However, of the two tea seems to have more naming potential.

So, if you’re parched and feeling creative, here’s a list of tea-inspired names for children or characters! 

Chai – A spicy tea which is more often consumed in a latte than alone.  Chai does not currently appear in the SSA data for either gender, but variant Shai enjoys unisex usage (49 boys and 30 girls in 2015).  Incidentally, Shai (pr. like the word ‘shy’) is an English transliteration of the Arabic word for ‘tea.’

Grey – as in Earl Grey and Lady Grey teas.  On that note, Earl is a also tea-inspired name, but is probably too outdated for most parents.  Grey is much trendier and more modern, and can serve as a nickname for Greyson.  In 2015, Grey by itself was the name for 233 boys and 70 girls.

Irish – The name Irish was given to 8 boys and girls each in 2015.  Irish Breakfast is a delicious black tea which I single-handedly consumed a 20-oz. pot of earlier. 

Rose – I don’t know how many rose teas there are, but about a month or so ago I imbibed this lovely Pu-erh tea which was apparently made from composted rose petals.  Anyway, as a name, Rose currently ranks #166 in the U.S.



Jasmine – Who doesn’t love jasmine tea?  Delicate and naturally decaf, this is more reminiscent of Disney Princesses than tea for most people.  Current rank: #112. 

Minty – Peppermint tea, Moroccan Mint Tea…I love minty teas.  Minty has never appeared in the SSA data, but Mintie appeared as a girls’ name between the late 19th-century and the 1940s.  Minty could be a refreshing and adorable nickname for Araminta.

Moroccan – Speaking of Moroccan Mint Tea, Mariah Carey named her twin son Moroccan in 2011 (his sister’s named Monroe).  Although Monroe is semi-popular as a girls’ name, Moroccan has never showed up in the extended data once. 

Camellia – A variety of the camellia plant, Camellia Sinensis, produces tea.  Last year, 67 girls were named Camellia and 37 were given the spelling Camelia.

Tea – Funnily enough, 37 girls were named Tea last year.  In their case, it’s probably pronounced like Tay-uh or Tee-uh and likely derives from the Greek root-name Thea meaning ‘goddess.’  As far as I can tell, ‘Coffee’ isn’t currently a baby name.

Kombucha – I don’t think anyone has tried to name their kid Kombucha yet, but it sounds like a name and a lot of people love drinking it (it’s not bad, in case you’re wondering).  I mean, Kale is a fairly trendy baby name, being the name of 175 boys born last year.

Masala – Nobody seems to use this as a name either, which surprises me somewhat more than the paucity of Kombuchas.  Sometimes you’ll see chai referred to as Masala Chai (though personally, Masala reminds me more of Tikka Masala…now I’m craving curry, lol)

Darling – If you truncate “Darjeeling,” you get Darling, a name given to 21 girls last year.

Roman – as in, Roman Chamomile.  This name was given to 3862 boys last year, ranking #102.  German Chamomile also exists, though German was the name of far fewer baby boys last year (154).

Caffrey – There weren’t any children named Caffeine or Decaf last year, but Caffrey sounds a lot like an abbreviation for “caffeine-free.”  9 boys in 2015. 

Lavender – Ever had a Lavender Tea Latte?  Very tasty.  Anyway, 60 American girls were named Lavender last year.

Lemon – Some people like lemon in their tea (especially with Earl Grey, if I’m not mistaken).  8 girls were named Lemon last year, and although there weren’t any boys named Lemon, there were 15 named Philemon.

China – As in, the porcelain we often use to contain tea.  33 girls in 2015.

London – (#105 for girls and #605 for boys).  I recently had something called a London Fog Tea, which is also known as an Earl Grey Latte.  It was basically just Earl Grey and vanilla.  But really, how can I write a post about tea and forget the British?!

Boston – Sorry British friends, but I can’t forget my country’s history either.  For the uninitiated, the Boston Tea Party was a 1773 incident when Bostonians appareled as Native Americans threw all the English-imported tea into Boston Harbor, protesting a trade law called the Tea Act.  One of many things that led to the American Revolution.  Name-wise, Boston currently ranks #607 nationally for boys, only appearing as a top 100 name in the state of Utah.

What do you think of these?  Are there any other tea-related names you’d add to this list?